Chicagoland: Jeff Gordon preview

GORDON AND TEAMMATE SEARCHING FOR EXTRA CHICAGO LOOT JOLIET, Ill. (July 7, 2009) - A $1 million bonus is up for grabs in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, but only a pair of drivers - Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and...

GORDON AND TEAMMATE SEARCHING FOR EXTRA CHICAGO LOOT

JOLIET, Ill. (July 7, 2009) - A $1 million bonus is up for grabs in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, but only a pair of drivers - Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin - can secure the extra loot.

At Michigan International Speedway in June, the duo finished one-two with Martin taking the victory in the LifeLock 400. To win the bonus provided by the title sponsor of the race, the pair must occupy the top-two spots - in any order - at the conclusion of Saturday night's event.

"I'd love for that to occur," said Gordon, who is second in the standings, 180 points behind leader Tony Stewart. "After his Daytona weekend, I think Mark wants a good, strong performance this weekend.

"And a second-place finish behind me can earn him a lot of points and a lot of dough," Gordon joked. "We can't afford to spot him too many bonus points before the Chase begins, so I'd prefer he finish second in this instance.

"Seriously, I think Mark will be one of the drivers contending for the win this weekend and I hope we are battling him for that position."

In eight career starts at the 1.5-mile track, Gordon has one win (2006), one pole (2004), four top-fives, five top-10's and a 10.1 average finish. Last year, Gordon posted an 11th-place finish in the first night race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Illinois track.

"I'm really looking forward to Saturday night's race," said Gordon, who will drive a specially painted No. 24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet this weekend. "I feel our intermediate track program has really turned a corner this year."

In six starts on intermediate tracks 1.5 -to-2 miles in length in 2009, Gordon has one win (Texas), three second-place finishes (California, Atlanta and Michigan), a sixth (Las Vegas) and a 14th (rain-shortened Charlotte event).

"Another strong run would be nice, especially going into an off-weekend," said Gordon, who is scheduled to be an award presenter at The 2009 ESPYs next week. "It gives the guys some confidence heading into the Brickyard."

And a bonus for Gordon if a certain teammate finishes second.

-credit: hm

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Mark Martin